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Study: Ga. teachers, state workers pay more for health care
Report suggests ways to cut costs
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ATLANTA — Teachers and state employees in Georgia are paying more for their health care than other public sector employees, according to a new study by the state Department of Community Health.

Consulting group Aon Hewitt studied the State Health Benefit Plan and concluded that state employees and teachers are paying more in out-of-pocket costs, including payroll deductions, than government workers in surrounding states and those on Georgia's university system health insurance plan.

The report suggested ways to cut costs, including some that Georgia has tried or proposed. For example, the authors suggested wellness incentives, using telemedicine, creating health clinics and moving thousands of retirees off the plan could save money.

The study said Georgia's state government could also pay more money toward health care costs so its employees can pay less.

Gov. Nathan Deal's office declined to comment Friday, and it was unclear whether the governor had read the report.

The findings did not surprise members of the group TRAGIC, which was founded last year by teachers and their spouses to fight rising out-of-pocket health insurance costs.

"This report confirms what the teachers and state employees of TRAGIC have been saying since January 2014: Our insurance options are unaffordable and we pay higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs than comparable plans in other states," said John Palmer, a Cobb County school band director and TRAGIC spokesman. "The question is, what is the Legislature willing to do to help the citizens who work for the state of Georgia?"

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